Thursday, 11 January 2024 14:41

Backstretch Nonprofit Names New Executive Director

Photo of Nancy Underwood provided by the New York Racing Association. Photo of Nancy Underwood provided by the New York Racing Association.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Backstretch Employee Service Team of New York (BEST) has named Nancy Underwood as its new executive director. Underwood previously directed BEST’s work at the Saratoga Race Course from 2014 until the end of 2023. Last year, BEST opened a health care clinic on the Oklahoma side of the track.

“BEST is successful because of the dedication of our staff, volunteers and healthcare providers,” said Underwood. “I am honored for the opportunity to lead this organization at a time when the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State is so bright.”

Underwood succeeds Paul Ruchames, who retired in December after serving as BEST’s executive director for 14 years.

According to its website, BEST is a nonprofit organization “devoted to resolving the health and social needs of the several thousand barn area (“backstretch”) workers of the Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks by providing on-site counseling and primary healthcare services, access to health insurance, and case management assistance.”

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